Torment: Tides Of Numenera is now out on Steam Early Access

Torment: Tides Of Numenera is a spiritual successor to one of my favorite RPGs of all time, Planescape: Torment, and much like its predecessor it features a captivating story, compelling characters and a strange world to explore.

After being successfully Kickstarted a while back Torment: Tides Of Numenera is now finally available for the general public to play as it has released on Steam: Early Access. I had the chance to play it over the weekend so here's my brief summary of the current beta version:

I've spent a decent chunk of time with Torment this week and while I can tell you right now its obviously clunky and unfinished it was also incredibly well written and with characters so interesting I spent over 5 hours simply talking to random people in the first city you encounter.

The best thing about all of this is that each and every character I managed to talk to had a compelling story to tell, if you could coerce them in to sharing it with you, which for some of the more alien races that inhabit the world isn't the easiest fear to accomplish.

For example there's a trio of sentient robots deep in the bowels of the city that had once served a god-like entity who after finishing his grand machine simply abandoned them and left them unable to move in complete darkness. After many eons of such isolation human miners discovered them and formed a symbiotic relationship, the robots would provide the technical knowledge needed for construction while the humans would do the actual work on account of the robots being unable to move.

Even though everything seems fine and dandy on first glance you will soon realize while talking to the robots that each of them suffers from an existential crisis, on account of them being loyal servants of their master who then so casually condemned their brilliant minds to an eternity of being what is essentially a talking statue. I never expected I could feel so sad about a robot's plight but Torment made it happen.

Torment: Tides of Numenera has some tragic characters with compelling stories

Life isn't easy if you're completely motionless

However, while the story really is amazing, possibly just as good or even better than Planescape: Torment's the combat, graphics and performance still need a lot of work done to them.

The combat right now is best described as generic low-level DND combat with the one big difference being the various items and background objects you can use (the titular Numenera) if you have either the necessary skill or knowledge to activate them without blowing yourself up in the process. I'm guessing things will become a whole lot more interesting once you get a few more abilities under your belt but since you're mostly stuck as a low level character during the beta it was fairly meek.

The performance is also a bit of a sore spot. Its not uncommon to have your game freeze for a couple of seconds mid combat or while interacting with particularly complex background objects or even when simply accessing your inventory or any menu besides the dialogue one.

In other words, while Torment has an amazing story that's well worth exploring, it is still very much so a beta and as such I'd recommend you buy it either because you want to support the developers or because you want to soak in the story. Just don't buy it expecting a finished game because it most certainly isn't one just yet.

If you're looking for more information you can either take a look at my written beta overview here or the video version below: